Thursday 11 July 2013

Checking bees for varroa

Kilner jar with cardboard funnel
One of the joys of beekeeping in west Lochaber is that they aren't infested with the varroa mite. At least that was true until this week when varroa were found in a hive at Acharacle only 25 miles away. As one of my hives came  from Resipol last Autumn, only five miles from Acharacle they might have the parasites.To check the hives for varroa you need a preserving jar with a wire mesh lid, a cardboard tube, icing sugar and a white pie dish.....really!  So I set out at mid morning with all of this kit to check the hives.

Step 1 is to open the hive and to shake 300 bees (100ml) into the jar via the funnel.

bees secure in the jar with lid on

Step 2 is to put two tablespoons of icing sugar into the jar and to screw on the lid; shake the bees to mix them and coat them with icing sugar.

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Step3 the jar containing bees and sugar is inverted and shaken vigorously over the white based pie dish. Any varroa should arrive in the dish with loads of sugar so visibility is improved by adding water. Check for mites.

We didn't find any!

Kilchoan appears to be still varroa free.

The sugar coated bees were returned to the hive unharmed.

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